The #1 Thing Missing for Stroke Survivors and People with Parkinson's.
I have been working with stroke survivor’s for 20+ years and there is one part of a therapy program that I usually have to make a priority for new folks who come to see me. Most often it is an area that has been glossed over, or completely ignored in their journey of improvement. And, for those folks we help who are living with Parkinson’s we make sure we have lots of options in our wellness programs to address this “missing piece”. What is this missing piece?..... Stretching!
It may seem like this is a small thing, but what we find is that if a person does not have the available range of motion needed for a particular task- they will not be able to do the task or will complete it with lots of effort. That means this is NO SMALL THING. Therefore, we make sure that we use our expertise to determine what range of motion is needed for a person’s desired activity or movement, then we design a program to help people achieve this.
What are some ways you can facilitate stretch? Well, in my training in the Neuro IFRAH® approach for people with hemiplegia, we learn a list of more than 2 dozen. So what I will do now is share with you a few to help you .
You can warm the part up you want to stretch: you could take a warm shower, or use a moist heat pack on the area (be sure you check your skin if you have impaired sensation)
You can use a weight to help a part stretch. Again, you need to be mindful of the appropriate amount of weight to use. We rest weights on our clients knees in sitting to put a stretch on the ankle.
You could use Gravity to help- when you are lying on your back gravity can help open up your chest.
Play some music that relaxes you- why do you think a massage therapist isn’t playing Marching Band music when you go for a massage? That soothing music helps to calm your nervous system to promote more muscle stretch
Your Body Weight- This is used frequently to put a stretch on your ankle
Have another person stretch the part- That is a big part of many of the treatments that we provide in our therapy treatments. But, we know that more frequent stretching can be helpful as well. That is why our Neuro Personal Trainer offers Stretch and Refresh sessions. This is where she works with you to stretch those areas that are tight that you just can’t seem to get to yourself.
So those are a few of the ways you can promote stretch in your journey to improvement. If you feel you may need help developing or implementing a stretching program, just click here to schedule a call with one of our Neuro Physical Therapists. We can answer your questions.